Social Networks

person holding black android smartphone
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on October 11, 2020 and last updated on February 4, 2023

As social media networks have grown, so too has their influence upon society. People access their social media accounts like Twitter or Facebook multiple times throughout the day and for some, it is their only source of news or current events.

Originally these social network sites were exempt from any prosecution resulting from content that a user uploads to their site. The argument was that they were not publishers of the content, and were simply just a platform for users to express their views and connect with others. However, recently these social media networks have become very active in banning people and censoring content that doesn’t meet their terms and conditions. This, in the opinion of some people, means that they are no longer simply a sharing platform, but are now a publisher and should be liable for all the content on their platform as they are actively choosing what content will be allowed on their network.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • social network (noun)
  • social media (noun)
  • connect (verb)
  • liable (adjective)
  • censor (verb)
  • source (noun)
  • ban (verb)
  • publisher (noun)

Conversation Questions

  • Should social networks be responsible for users' content?
  • What social networks do you use?
  • Do you think social networks should be allowed to ban people? If yes, under what circumstances? If not, why not?
  • Do you think social networks should be allowed to remove a user's content that doesn’t break any law? If yes, under what circumstances? If no, why not?
  • Do you think social networks should be held responsible for content uploaded by their users?
  • What problems can you see happening if social networks start to become liable for their users' content?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.